By Colin Sheehan, RCS Reporter.
In Season 3, Episode 45 of Roofing Road Trips, RCS podcast producer Megan Ellsworth chats with Molly Nelson, a current RCS intern. The two discuss Molly’s experience at RoofersCoffeeShop and how her degree in environmental studies and internship at RCS is leading her towards an exciting career in the roofing industry.
Molly was born and raised in Oregon and grew up in the roofing industry. Her dad is a contractor and estimator and ran Brown Roofing Company out of the Dalles in Oregon, where Molly worked as a receptionist.
“That was a great experience because it was fun to learn a little bit more about people's needs and get to know people in the community," said Molly. “Then I decided to go off to college [and] moved out to Minnesota to go to the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities.”
Molly originally thought she was going to be a chemical engineer, but after a few semesters she decided it wasn’t the right fit. After re-evaluating where she was and what she wanted to do, she decided to pursue a degree in environmental studies.
“I was really interested in how the environment and society collaborated and worked together, especially in industry,” said Molly. “My major title, this very long title, is environmental science policy and management, and it's abbreviated to ESPM, which is fun. I also had a sustainability minor, and I absolutely loved my major.”
Molly appreciated the diversity of courses she attended within that major, including a lot of science classes, but also social sciences, business and even humanities.
Molly graduated in December of 2020, and took a few months to think about what kind of career she wanted to develop. She remembered her capstone project, where she worked with community members on an eco-district in East Hennepin County. During this project, Molly designed and instigated a green roof, which confirmed what she wanted out of a career: a community of people to work with and a way to help the environment and society thrive together.
“I absolutely loved that [capstone] project,” said Molly. “It ignited my passion that I grew up with in the roofing industry, and then also combined with the environmental aspect. I thought, ‘This is where I want my career to go. This feels good.’”
Molly reached out to her dad for help, who re-introduced her to RCS President Heidi J. Ellsworth. The two had met previously at a Western States Expo as well as a National Women in Roofing booth and Heidi was excited to support the launch of Molly’s career.
“She graciously accepted my invitation to an informational interview, and right off the bat we clicked,” said Molly. “I knew that this is where it was going to take off.”
Listen to the entire podcast to hear more from Molly, what she’s doing now at the Coffee Shop and where she plans to take the rest of her career.